We endure many emotional traumas throughout our lives and the ones that hurt the most don’t always come from people of the world. They often come from those we love such as our biological family, our church family and our friends, and these hurts cut to the bone.
When we take a stand to serve Jesus with our whole lives we offend the devil’s plan, which is to keep us apart from God. John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” We need to understand that the devil doesn’t have even one tiny cell of compassion for us and that he’s got absolutely no consideration or good feeling toward us; he has only contempt for us because we love Jesus and he hates Him.
He will do whatever it takes to destroy our relationship with God and so he searches our lives and finds out what is most precious to us – and then he attacks. Because we are people whose lives and motives are often controlled by our emotions, the devil knows that the best way to challenge our faith in God is to do something that affects these emotions. We know that the world comes against us because of Jesus, but when we anger the devil he makes sure that the people we love are offended and repulsed by our lifestyle even more. So, he creates situations where we are forced to make a choice: keep peace and compromise our faith with our family that doesn’t know God, or serve God and separate ourselves from them.
Many of us don’t want to lose the love of someone who we hold dear to our heart such as a child or a parent or a sibling. We’ll do almost anything to keep the peace and to end the conflict in our relationship with them. We learn how to work around the issues so that we can continue to be Christians and so that they can continue to just accept us because we’re different. We think we’ve got it controlled.
However, the devil doesn’t stop there. He is set out to destroy us and the amiable compromise that we settle for to keep peace isn’t good enough for him. He pushes so that he can break us and destroy our relationship with God. He sets circumstances before us so that our emotions are challenged and we are forced choose between God and family.
This is when we need to withdraw from everyone and just dig deep into the Bible to get to know Jesus personally. We need to increase our love FOR Him and build our faith IN Him. We need to realize the unconditional love that HE has for us, and that He really took on OUR sins and allowed Himself to be painfully nailed to the cross for US – for YOU and for ME.
This wasn’t an easy thing to do. Jesus knew the torture and torment He’d endure, yet He didn’t let it get in the way; He pressed forward with the plan to suffer and die for us. His earthly mother was likely drenched in tears when the end came and yet Jesus did not let HIS personal emotions get in the way of doing what He had to do.
Matthew 19:29 says, “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”
Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to die for us. What a friend we have in Jesus! When we realize what He endured for us, then we will realize the love that He has for us, and when we realize that love, how can we do anything except love Him back and follow Him?
Jesus gave us a commission in Mark 16:15 and told us to, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Why do we do this? Because when we become Christians we are filled with His Spirit, and the same love that He has for us lives IN us, and we have the same passion to save people from the clutches of the devil that He has.
Being a Christian is not about us and what we want; it’s about the love of God and what HE wants. It says in John 3:16 that Jesus died for everyone because He loves everyone. Howbeit, there are far too many people who will not know Him before they leave this earth and sadly they will have to face His judgement. And this could include our loved ones.
When our families and friends are offended because of the gospel, we need to focus on eternity and not on today and on this earth or on our personal emotions.
It’s far better to part fellowship and walk away from the ones we love now and then pray diligently for their salvation from a distance than it is to hold fast to a relationship with them now and lose them to an eternal life of damnation in hell. Love is beautiful when we can share it with people, but it’s more meaningful when we can love them enough to get away from them and not be their stumbling stone. We can pray from a distance for them to be saved and it may take a lifetime, but it would be worth the sacrifice if even on their death-bed they cried out for Jesus and got saved.
“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” … Matthew 10:22
We may have lived a sad and agonizing life without them on earth, but the joy that will flood our soul when we see them in Heaven will be worth every hurt we ever suffered because of them here.
Eternity is forever and so we can’t let our emotions keep us from this reality or from following and obeying the One person who knows what it means to love. We cannot risk our sole or the lives of our loved ones by letting our personal emotions get in the way of a true and eternal love – not even when the hurts come from our loved ones and they cut to the bone.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
… James 5:16